Teenagers and young adults who report higher levels of happiness are more likely to be wealthy later in life, says a new study.
Happy teens are more likely to get a degree, find a job and earn money than their gloomy counterparts, researchers from University College London and University of Warwick found.
The study involved data from 15,000 teens. Researchers found that happiness was tied with a greater chance of finding a job and earning more money. They found that a one-point increase in life satisfaction (on a scale of 5) at the age of 22 meant that the person is more likely to have $2,000 higher earnings per annum at the age of 29.
The researchers also looked at siblings of the study subjects. They found that the difference in income of siblings who grew in the same environment is associated with the levels of happiness and life-satisfaction experienced as adolescents.
Researchers accounted for other influences that may have led to increase in the income, like current happiness, education, physical health, self-esteem, genetic variation and IQ. They found that the relationship between happiness at early age was consistently associated with higher wealth later in life.
Researchers say that the study shows that income and happiness is a two-way street where a higher satisfaction with life also leads to higher income in the future.
"These findings have important implications for academics, policy makers, and the general public....perhaps most importantly, for the general public - and parents in particular - these findings show that the emotional well-being of children and adolescents is key to their future success, yet another reason to ensure we create emotionally healthy home environments," said Dr Jan-Emmanuel De Neve of UCL Political Science.
Happiness might not be so easy to attain, especially if people are not predisposed to being happy.
"It's kind of like losing weight. If you're genetically predisposed to not being a happy person, you have to put a lot of effort into it," said Sonja Lyubomirsky, a UC Riverside social psychologist and author of "The How of Happiness," who was not involved in the study, reports Los Angeles Times.
The study is published in the journal Proceedings of National Academy of Science.